Bali Gay Travel
Unmatched Bali gay travel recommendations: where to stay, things to do, gay nightlife & local culture.
The Gay Travel Experience: Bali, Indonesia
I guarantee traveling to Bali will be everything you’ve ever hoped it would be. Impressive tranquility, famous countryside attractions and a gentile culture are some of the reasons travelers adore this Southeast Asian island.
Bali gay travel is specifically attractive as the island is gay-friendly and absolutely safe for LGBT people to visit.
Gay life in Bali is more prevalent than anywhere else in Indonesia. Why is that? It has to do with the local religion! This whimsical island of Bali is notably different from the rest of Indonesia it’s one of the only areas where Hinduism is practiced. So, gay life here fares much better.
The locals specifically practice Balinese-Hinduism, called Agama Hindu Dharma. The iconic charming religious offerings these people place on the streets and in their homes are beyond beautiful. As a gay traveler, it’s just one more reason to love Bali.
Bali has experienced explosive tourism over the past decade and it is no longer an island known to few. For context, Bali is building a brand-new airport to cope with the intense traffic around Denpasar. Knowing this, you should tread carefully to avoid tourist traps and use this guide to explore the best of Bali.
There are still many authentic sites for gay travelers to see in Bali. In this travel guide I’ll cover where you should stay as well as all the attractions LGBT tourists love.
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Gay Bali: Hotels & Where to Stay
Before choosing where to stay in Bali, remember that you will arrive at Denpasar Airport, which is in the south. this is where the majority of tourism is concentrated. Here, you’ll have several districts to choose from including Jimbaran, Kuta or even further south in Uluwatu.
Where to Stay in South Bali
I highly recommend staying in the Jimbaran area. Jimbaran is quieter and comprised of mainly resorts. Beaches are far more tranquil as compared to neighborhoods to the north like Kuta.
While in south Bali at the start of my trip, I stayed a few nights at the Four Seasons Jimbaran before traveling northward. Without a doubt, it was the most magical hotel I have ever stayed in. They have every single detail perfected for their guests. It made for quite a majestic setting for me my boyfriend Michael on our first vacation as a couple.
The Kuta area is much busier and has much cheaper accommodations. Budget travelers often stay in downtown Kuta hotels for a few nights since it’s very centrally located. I did the same while exploring the south of Bali.
I must warn you, though. Kuta is a tourist center and it is not so authentic. It takes a lot for me to dislike an area, but walking around Kuta was incredibly frustrating. Constantly bombarded by men asking if I wanted to rent a motorbike or receive a massage, I found myself avoiding the town center at all costs.
Where to Stay in Central Bali
Ubud is a fantastic and white popular place to stay in central Bali. You can find relative seclusion here, with the convenience of having a vibrant central town. I stayed in an adorable and spacious guesthouse called Bali Home 68. It was also super affordable and only a five-minute walk to the town’s main road.
If I had more time, I would have spent it further north on the island. I’d quite probably book one of those jaw-dropping retreats in Kubutambahan that completely integrate with the natural surroundings. Given north Bali is harder to get to, it is far less traveled, perfect for an authentic and serene place to stay.
Bali Experiences for the Gay Traveler
If you happen to be in Bali during a full moon or new moon, go visit one of the larger temples near you in the early evening to see some large local celebrations. During these times, women dress up in even more extravagant Balinese traditional outfits. Cheerful locals flood the streets!
I absolutely loved hopping on a motorbike and driving as much of Bali as I could. This is a super cute idea for gay couples in Bali. Grab you lover and take in a scenic drive. The farther north you go, the more romantic it will be.
Things to Do in South Bali (& What to Avoid)
Head to Dewi Sri Food Center for cheap, tasty local food! This place is filled with locals each evening. Try some pork belly, chicken satay and other Southeast Asian mainstays.
Gay travelers will be much happier making good use of a private pool in their hotel or resort. This is what we’re all yearning for, right? Get one of those floating breakfast trays and treat yourself like a queen!
Avoid Kuta Beach at all costs. I truly wonder why tourists come here. It is filled with trash and aggressive children trying to sell bracelets. Instead, I recommend Pantai Plix, a spot where the locals hang! About 30 minutes south of Kuta, you can enjoy this small cliff with a serene view.
Pantai Plix is not swimmable because waves crash along a rock formation. However, the algae and ponds of water in the sand are very cool! Although it’s a little gritty and treacherous, it’s definitely an authentic experience.
Things to Do in Ubud & Central Bali
Most travelers are beyond stoked for the Bali rice terraces. I visited Tegalalang Rice Terrace, a 20-minute drive north of the Ubud town center. Stunning can’t even describe this place, which is probably why everyone makes a point to get here.
I quickly became a regular at Namaskara Coffee, an absolutely adorable café in Central Ubud. They have authentic Balinese food, fast Wi-Fi, and stellar cappuccinos. Definitely order the red sticky rice in hot coconut milk with mango & banana. I got it three days in a row!
Central Bali is home to hundreds of wood carving and handcrafted-furniture shops. Balinese wood carving goes back many centuries, too. It’s a huge tradition in the Ubud region. There’s no better memento for a gay couple than a handcrafted piece from Ubud!
There are many boutique shops in Central Ubud selling high quality clothing and often decorative home items. I grabbed some awesome shorts from Lost In Paradise.
Bali Gay Bars & Nightlife
You’ll find most nightlife, including the gay bars, clustered together on a street called Jalan Camplung Tanduk. This area is just north of downtown Kuta. All three officially gay establishments on the island are all adjacent to one another.
I personally didn’t visit the gay bars in Bali since it was raining every night. (I was there during the wet season). Plus, I preferred to explore Bali’s wonderful nature. I do know however that the gay bars in Bali are not exactly the most popular with tourists. So if you’re headed to one, I’d expect you encounter mostly locals.
Bali Gay Travel Tips
If you are traveling with your significant other, there should be no problem with sharing one bed in a single room. Many resorts, especially western hotels, will recognize and accommodate gay couples as they would any other.
Bali is predominantly a cash-only society. I actually learned this the hard way after losing my debit card. Especially while in Ubud and the north of the island, make sure you have enough cash handy and ideally carry a backup debit card.
What’s the Best Season for Bali Gay Travel?
I visited Bali during the rainy season and I still loved it! Wet season in Bali is from October to April. The rest of the months are relatively dry. Even during the wet season, there are still some clear days.
If you can afford to spend more time in Bali, the rainy season is perfectly fine. Mornings in the rainy season are pretty much always rain-free. After sunset, rain is common.
Don’t forget to buy a durable rain-proof poncho before your trip. This will definitely come in handy. Locals carry these everywhere and o many tourists get caught without them!
Local Religious Offerings
Here’s a great taxi driver conversation starter! Ask them about how they make their daily offering baskets. Your driver will gladly talk about his local religion and how it is so unique.
Locals create these precious creations to show gratitude. Without a doubt, you will see them everywhere around Bali. They are commonly filled with flowers, rice, fruit and sometimes coins. People typically place them three times a day, every day .
Using Taxis in Bali
When getting a taxi at the airport, use the curbside registered local taxi stand. They will give you the cheapest price. The storefront inside the airport will charge you triple the fair price and the local guys standing by the exit will charge you at least double.
Authentic Gay Travel
Indonesia Gay Life
Indonesian cities such as Jakarta experience numerous raids on places where gay individuals are thought to congregate. Many LGBT citizens face arrests and harsh punishments for being themselves. Human rights organizations rightly denounced the many atrocities involving LGBT citizens that have taken place in Indonesia over recent years.
Bali specifically is not anti-gay. As mentioned in the beginning of this guide, people here have much more liberal beliefs, stemming from their Balinese-Hindu practices. The gay community is well-tolerated in Bali, although the government still does not afford them any specific discrimination protections.
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